Tag Archives: basketball

The Seven Roles of a Winning Fundraising Team

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, basketball, fundraising teams, fundraising strategy, Saad&ShawIt’s that time of year – basketball every night! The games get better and better. Fans are loyal, excited and stressed. People on the east coast stay up way too late. Everyone is wearing their team’s logo. The playoffs are on! If you’re a fundraising fanatic you are inspired as you imagine your fundraising team performing with the precision of your favorite basketball team.

In the NBA the coach develops a game plan. In fundraising, it’s the fundraising plan, strategic plan, business plan – or a combination of these – that serve as the game plan.

Read: How to Have a Winning NBA [Fundraising] Team

Before each crucial game NBA coaches scout their opponent. In fundraising, you prepare by researching potential donors. What are their interests and philanthropic priorities? Their current – or prior! – relationship to your organization? Don’t take your team onto the court unprepared!

Good coaching is key to both the NBA and fundraising. Basketball teams have a head coach: in fundraising coaching can come from consultants or the chief development person.

Great teams have loyal fan bases who are with them whether they are up or down. These fans believe in the team, their talents, resources and ability to prevail. With fundraising, there is a constituency that believes in your case. They feel you have all the elements to succeed, or that you are getting there. As in basketball, good fundraising teams feed off the energy. The community gives to your campaign, introduces new donors and encourages you to be successful.

Basketball teams reward their fans with fan appreciation gifts and events. You need to do the same. It’s called stewardship.

Good teams practice, practice and practice. Good fundraising programs are always educating, training, and orienting their leadership, staff and volunteers. They consistently communicate, sharing an easy-to-understand message and clear examples of impact. They don’t take anything for granted.

Basketball teams are big on stats: the number of points, how they compare with the competition or prior years. Same in fundraising. It’s time to get big on data: use it to compare your activities and results. Review it closely, make adjustments to your strategies and tactics and increase the odds of meeting your goal.

Let’s talk about recruiting. NBA teams have scouts out on grade school courts – or so it seems. What about your organization? What is your recruiting strategy? Where will your talent come from? You need more than one superstar: you need a winning team. How are you cultivating your next fundraising hires, your new board members and advisors?  And don’t stop at scouting: winning teams keep their top talent. You know what that means: time to invest in building and reinforcing your current talent and helping them to be the best they can.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

How to Have a Winning NBA [Fundraising] Team

NBA and Fundraising Recent columns have focused on questions for employers to ask prospective fundraising employees, and questions for interviewees to ask their interviewers. Our goal: to help all parties understand the critical role of fundraising professionals and what it takes for them to be successful. As a nonprofit executive – or as the person in charge of fundraising for an organization – you need to know what to look for in a candidate when hiring. And, as a fundraising professional you have to know how to ask questions that will reveal whether or not you are joining a fundraising team or if you will be expected to be a miracle worker.

A number of readers reached out to us in past weeks, sharing reactions to these columns along with true confessions. We heard from a development director looking for work because the new executive director doesn’t know fundraising and doesn’t know strategic planning. Another confessed he really hadn’t given his all in his prior position: he never felt a part of the team. Through our work we have heard a common plea from executive directors and board members who talk with us about their staff, asking in exasperation “why don’t they just raise the money?”

Given that it’s NBA playoff season we offer the analogy of basketball. Consider these comparisons.

Great basketball players go beyond scores and defense and are known for how well they elevate the play of their fellow team mates. Think of superstars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson. The list is long.  Point guards such as the Warrior’s Steph Curry, the Clipper’s Chris Paul and the Spur’s Tony Parker make sure the strengths of each player are brought to the game.

In fundraising it’s the same. Sure there are superstar vice presidents and development directors who exceed fundraising goals year over year. But are they leading a fundraising team? Some are, but some hog the ball, becoming a one person team. These fundraisers don’t take the time to invest in their team members. Think about it: do all members of your team have a chance to play, or are some left consistently sitting on the bench? And, what happens when your top people leave?

A fundraising superstar engages the key players. As the chief fundraising officer he or she is the “play maker,” setting things in motion. He or she takes the time to learn the strengths of team members and figure out how to best deploy these. Fundraising team members include the chief executive or president, board chair, development chair, chief operating officer, chief finance officer, the data management and administrative team, researchers, and proposal writers. All these individuals need to be in motion, working the game plan.

More next week.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.